BALMEDIE, Scotland — President-elect Donald J. Trump has already built a wall — not on the border with Mexico, but on the border of his exclusive golf course in northeastern Scotland, blocking the sea view of local residents who refused to sell their homes.
And then he sent them the bill.
David and Moira Milne had already been threatened with legal action by Mr. Trump's lawyers, who claimed a corner of their garage belonged to him, when they came home from work one day to find his staff building a fence around their garden. Two rows of grown trees went up next, blocking the view. Their water and electricity lines were temporarily cut. And then a bill for about $3,500 arrived in the mail, which, Mr. Milne said, went straight into the trash.
"You watch, Mexico won't pay either," said Mr. Milne, a health and safety consultant and part-time novelist, referring to Mr. Trump's campaign promise to build a "beautiful, impenetrable wall" along the border and force the Mexicans to pay for it.
The Milnes now fly a Mexican flag from their hilltop house, a former coast guard station that overlooks the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Links, whenever Mr. Trump visits.Continue reading the main story
So do Susan and John Munro, who also refused to sell and now face an almost 15-foot-high earthen wall built by Mr. Trump's people on two sides of their property.
Michael Forbes, a quarry worker whose home sits on the opposite side of the Trump property, added a second flag — "Hillary for President" — perhaps because Mr. Trump publicly accused him of living "like a pig" and called him a "disgrace" for not selling his "disgusting" and "slumlike" home.
As many Americans are trying to figure out what kind of president they have just elected, the people of Balmedie, a small village outside the once oil-rich city of Aberdeen, say they have a pretty good idea. In the 10 years since Mr. Trump first visited, vowing to build "the world's greatest golf course" on an environmentally protected site featuring 4,000-year-old sand dunes, they have seen him lash out at anyone standing in his way. They say they watched him win public support for his golf course with grand promises, then watched him break them one by one.
A promised $1.25 billion investment has shrunk to what his opponents say is at most $50 million. Six thousand jobs have dwindled to 95. Two golf courses to one. An eight-story, 450-room luxury hotel never materialized, nor did 950 time-share apartments. Instead, an existing manor house was converted into a 16-room boutique hotel. Trump International Golf Links, which opened in 2012, lost $1.36 million last year, according to public accounts.
"If America wants to know what is coming, it should study what happened here. It's predictive," said Martin Ford, a local government representative. "I have just seen him do in America, on a grander scale, precisely what he did here. He suckered the people and he suckered the politicians until he got what he wanted, and then he went back on pretty much everything he promised."
Alex Salmond, a former first minister of Scotland whose government granted Mr. Trump planning permission in 2008, overruling local officials, now concedes the point, saying, "Balmedie got 10 cents on the dollar."
Sarah Malone, who came to Mr. Trump's attention after winning a local beauty pageant and is now a vice president of Trump International, disputed some of the figures publicly discussed about the project, saying that Mr. Trump invested about $125 million and that the golf course now employed 150 people.
"While other golf and leisure projects were shelved due to lack of funds," she said, "Mr. Trump continued to forge ahead with his plans and has put the region on the global tourism map, and this resort plays a vital role in the economic prosperity of northeast Scotland."
Mr. Salmond said that Mr. Trump's impact on business in Scotland might actually be a net negative because his xenophobic comments have appalled the Scottish establishment so much that the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, known simply as the R&A, is unlikely to award his other Scottish golf course, the world-renowned Trump Turnberry, another prestigious golf tournament like the Open anytime soon.